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The 192nd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 69H: Energy facilities siting board

Section 69H. There is hereby established an energy facilities siting board within the department, but not under the supervision or control of the department. Said board shall implement the provisions contained in sections 69H to 69Q, inclusive, so as to provide a reliable energy supply for the commonwealth with a minimum impact on the environment at the lowest possible cost. To accomplish this, the board shall review the need for, cost of, and environmental impacts of transmission lines, natural gas pipelines, facilities for the manufacture and storage of gas, and oil facilities; provided, however, that the board shall review only the environmental impacts of generating facilities, consistent with the commonwealth's policy of allowing market forces to determine the need for and cost of such facilities. Such reviews shall be conducted consistent with section 69J.25 for generating facilities and with section 69J for all other facilities.

The board shall be composed of the secretary of energy and environmental affairs, who shall serve as chairman, the secretary of housing and economic development, the commissioner of the department of environmental protection, the commissioner of the division of energy resources, 2 commissioners of the commonwealth utilities commission, or the designees of any of the foregoing, and 3 public members to be appointed by the governor for a term coterminous with that of the governor, 1 of whom shall be experienced in environmental issues, 1 of whom shall be experienced in labor issues, and 1 of whom shall be experienced in energy issues. The board shall not include as a public member any person who receives, or who has received during the past two years a significant portion of his or her income directly or indirectly from the developer of an energy facility or an electric, gas or oil company. The public members shall serve on a part-time basis, receive $100 per diem of board service, and shall be reimbursed by the commonwealth for all reasonable expenses actually and necessarily incurred in the performance of official board duties. Upon the resignation of any public member, a successor shall be appointed in a like manner for the unexpired portion of the term. No person shall be appointed to serve more than two consecutive full terms.

In the event of the absence, recusal or disqualification of the chairman, the commissioner of energy resources shall appoint an acting chairman from the remaining members of the board. The board shall meet at such time and place as the chairman may designate or upon the request of three members. Four members shall constitute a quorum.

In carrying out its functions, the board shall cooperate with, and may obtain information and recommendations from every agency of the state government and of local government which may be concerned with any matter under the purview of the board. Each state or local government agency is directed to provide such information and recommendations as may be requested by the board. The board shall cooperate with other states and with the federal government or any agency thereof, as authorized under section sixty-nine Q and as otherwise authorized by law. The board may receive and expend such funds as are appropriated or as may be available to it from the funds of any other agency.

The board shall have powers and duties as follows:

(1) To adopt and publish rules and regulations consistent with the purposes of sections sixty-nine H to section sixty-nine Q, and to amend the same from time to time. This includes rules and regulations for the conduct of the board's public hearings under the provisions of sections sixty-nine H.5, sixty-nine I, sixty-nine J and sixty-nine M.

(2) To accept petitions for certificates of environmental impact and public need on such forms as it may prescribe, consistent with the provisions of section sixty-nine L; to conduct preliminary investigations thereon and solicit information and recommendations relating thereto; to conduct public hearings in accordance with the provisions of sections sixty-nine M and sixty-nine N and to supervise the enforcement of the terms and conditions of certificates so issued; to approve or reject petitions to construct facilities and notices of intention to construct an oil facility in accordance with the provisions of section sixty-nine J; and to accept for review and approval or rejection any application, petition, or matter related to the need for, construction of, or siting of facilities referred by the chairman of the department pursuant to section four of chapter twenty-five; provided, however, that in reviewing such application, petition, or matter, the board shall apply department and board standards in a consistent manner.

(3) Where the applicant has petitioned the board with respect to a national pollutant discharge elimination system permit, the board shall be required to make a tentative determination as to the resolution of that petition, which determination shall be included in the public notice as required by section sixty-nine M.

(4) The board shall have the opportunity to issue orders with respect to any matter over which it has jurisdiction. Any applicant who violates any such order shall be subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $1000 for each violation for each day that the violation persists; provided, however, that the maximum civil penalty shall not exceed $200,000 for any related series of violations.